Anthony Merulla Wins 2014 WPT Borgata Winter Poker OpenWednesday, February 5th, 2014 by Ryan
With all of the ruckus that was going on around the counterfeit chips at the Borgata Poker Open, it’s good that we finally have a nice story about the events. While the Super Bowl probably had the bulk of people’s attention this past weekend, there was also some great poker going on in Atlantic City. This of course was the 2014 World Poker Tour (WPT) Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event, and the final table was held on Friday.
To the eventual winner, we saw a nice pay day of $842,379 to go along with the World Poker Tour’s Champions Cup. The eventual winner when all of the action came to an end was a player from New York by the name of Anthony Merulla. The final table action that started on Friday saw multiple players all fairly close and within striking distance of each other. A member of the WPT Champions Club, David Paredes was sitting at the top of the leaderboard holding a total of 9.65 million chips. Just behind him though was Anthony Maio with 9.5 million chips.
From there we saw about a 3 million chip drop to Jared Jaffee, who is also a WPT Champions Club member, as he was holding 6.62 million chips, and then Farid Jattin with 6.115 million chips. To round out the final table was our eventual champion in Merulla with 3.445 million chips, and Vlad Mezheritsky with 1.39 million chips. As you can tell, Merulla had quite a bit of work to do. Things got going quickly, and on Hand 11 Jaffee raised it up, Merulla three bet, Jattin four-bet, and then Jaffee pushed it all-in over the top.
Everyone was pretty shocked by the massive amount of action after such a short time, but then Merulla and Jattin both made calls. This set up a three way all-in, and we saw Merulla turned over Q-Q, Jaffee hold 10-10, and Jattin having the lead with K-K. The flop came 9d-7d-5h, and a 10d on the turn gave Jaffee the lead. The river though, was another diamond that didn’t pair the board, so Merulla hit a diamond flush, and took in a huge pot, sending Jattin home in sixth place.
Two hands after that, Mezheritsky shoved his final 1.375 million in with A-K and Paredes called with J-J, and even with an Ace on the flop, a Jack came also to give Paredes a set, sending Mezheritsky home in fifth place. Jaffee was short stacked also from the previous hand, and shoved all-in on Hand 15 with K-J, only to lose to Merulla’s A-8 of hearts, knocking out another player in Jaffee in fourth place.
Things calmed down from there, and we didn’t see another knockout until Hand 76. Anthony Maio saw his stack getting smaller and smaller, and before long got into the action a bit, when he raised pre-flop and was called by Merulla. The flop came with 7d-5d-2d and Merulla check-called Maio’s bet. Merulla checked the turn 9c, and Maio bet 425k, leading to Merulla to move all-in. Maio called with Q-Q, but Merulla had A-6d for a flopped nut flush. Maio was out in third place setting up our heads up match.
Heads up play was close to start, with Paredes holding 20.5 million chips, and Merulla holding 16.175 million chips. Merulla won big pots twice during the heads up play, but both times Paredes battled back to get the chip lead from him. It took until Hand 169 for Merulla to grab the lead again, and two hands later he ended the event. Paredes raised pre-flop to 1.2 million, and Merulla called. The flop came with Qc-6c-3s, and the two players went back and forth raising at each other. Paredes was all-in eventually with Qs-8c, and Merulla called right away with Qd-3d for two pair. The turn was a 7d, and the river was a 4d giving Merulla the pot and the 2014 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open championship.
Shockingly, this was actually the first cash in a live tournament EVER for Merulla, which is pretty amazing and a nice way to start off your potential poker career. For second place, David Paredes still took home a nice $499,549.